3.1   Healthy living

Performance
& perception

Summary

Oslo continues to top the global charts for wellbeing, healthcare and access to outdoor space – all areas where attention is growing as a result of Covid-19. Oslo’s world-leading work-life balance continues to be underpinned by strong national and local-level fundamentals including provisions for paid parental support, worker rights, and vacation days, and a smaller proportion of overworked residents, relative to other city regions.

Citizen satisfaction with healthcare facilities has improved significantly, while a rapid shift to electric vehicles and clean energy has underpinned vast improvements to city-wide air quality. Emerging data does however suggest that Oslo is behind for the availability of hospital beds.

Leader for region-wide air quality. Oslo has the 6th lowest annual air pollution exposure of 92 of the world’s major capital city regions, up from 15th in 2019.

Culture of work-life balance. Oslo has the 2nd least overworked population among 50 regions globally, and the 7th lowest proportion of residents regularly working overtime.

Leader for mental health provision. Oslo is 1st among 24 peers for access to mental healthcare.

Highlights

Performance

  • Leader for region-wide air quality. Oslo has the 6th lowest annual air pollution exposure of 92 of the world’s major capital city regions, up from 15th in 2019.60
  • Culture of work-life balance. Oslo has the 2nd least overworked population among 50 regions globally, and the 7th lowest proportion of residents regularly working overtime.61
  • High spending on healthcare. Oslo ranks in the top 20 for its spending on healthcare.62
  • Leader for mental health provision. Oslo is 1st among 24 peers for access to mental healthcare.63
  • Supportive environment for new parents. Oslo is 4th globally for the level of financial support given to employees when they are on parental leave.64
  • High water quality standards. Oslo is 2nd of 8 peer regions for the perceived quality and accessibility of its drinking water.65
  • Lower availability of hospital beds. Oslo is 9th among 14 European peers for the number of hospital beds per 100,000 people – putting it on a par with Rome and Barcelona.66

Perception

  • Highly regarded healthcare facilities. In 2019, Oslo ranked 9th among European regions for citizens’ happiness with local healthcare facilities – up from 26th in 2015.67
  • Impressive medical services. Oslo ranks 4th for the % of the population who are content with medical services in the region.68
  • Perceptions of clean air. Oslo is 2nd for the % of residents agreeing that air pollution is not a problem.69
  • Manageable daily commutes for workers. Pre-Covid, Oslo had the 7th lowest level of dissatisfaction with the daily commute.70
  • Favourable work atmosphere. Oslo has the 15th most pleasant environment at work in an employee wellbeing survey.71
  • Fulfilled residents. Oslo ranks 7th globally in a study of the world’s happiest city regions.72

Oslo’s residents are highly satisfied with core systems and assets

Figure 14: Resident perceptions of liveability in Oslo compared to among European peers

Source: EU Barometer Quality of Life in European Cities.

Implications for Oslo

In the next cycle, it will be
important for Oslo to:

  • Use the growing attention on what people make of cities’ public services, work-life balance, safety and amenities as a window of opportunity for appeal to sustainability and wellbeing-minded individuals and families.
  • Ensure that government, investors and the business community have the tools to collaborate on protecting the region’s reputation for world-leading work-life balance, encouraging remote and flexible working and showing the different dimensions that make the region flexible (the regional centres, the high quality of regional services, the flexible ways teams collaborate, the range of amenities and attractions, etc.) 

3.2   Values and welcome

Performance
& perception

Summary

As Covid-19 re-emphasises the importance of gender equality, Oslo can be well placed to demonstrate a fair and inclusive economic recovery. The city has one of the smallest gender employment and gender wage gaps regionally and globally, and is leading the way on efforts to ensure that innovation is gender inclusive, with a high number of women-founded start-ups and female entrepreneurs and a gender inclusive tech meetup scene. Oslo’s status as a tolerant and welcoming city also remains undimmed from the perspective of citizen perceptions about minority and LGBTQI+ inclusion.

On the other hand, there are some emerging signs that Oslo’s widely praised model of social cohesion was beginning to come under threat before the pandemic hit. More people are at risk of poverty and social exclusion.

Equal employment opportunities. Oslo has 
the 4th smallest gender employment gap 
among European peers.

A warm welcome. Oslo is in the top half of its peer group for the % of citizens agreeing that minorities feel welcome in the city region.

Highlights

Performance

  • Equal employment opportunities. Oslo has the 4th smallest gender employment gap among European peers.73
  • Equal pay for women. Oslo has the 3rd smallest gender wage gap globally.74
  • More equal society. Oslo has the 10th lowest level of income inequality globally.75
  • Ahead of the curve for women’s rights and equality. At a national scale, Norway has the 5th lowest level of restriction to women’s rights and resources.76
  • Ahead of the curve for female growth company founders and entrepreneurs. Oslo is 2nd among 14 European start-up ecosystems for the % of female start-up founders, and 4th for the % of women-focused meetups.77
  • Higher poverty risk. Oslo has the 9th highest rate of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion among 16 European peer regions.78

Perception

  • LGBTQI+ inclusive. Oslo ranks 3rd among European peers for the % of residents who agree that the city region is a good place for LGBTQI+ populations, at 98%.79
  • Embedded national culture of gender equality. At a national level, Norway has the 3rd highest proportion of residents agreeing that companies provide women the same opportunities as men to rise to positions of leadership.80
  • A warm welcome. Oslo is in the top half of its peer group for the % of citizens agreeing that minorities feel welcome in the city region.81
  • Geared towards integration of immigrants. Oslo is in the top 20 in Europe for the % of residents agreeing that the city region is a good place for immigrants.82

Pre-Covid, Oslo’s status as a warm and welcoming city region was undimmed

Figure 15: Resident perceptions of values and welcome in Oslo compared to European peers

Source: EU Barometer Quality of Life in European Cities.

Influential all-round indexes

  • Social cohesion model under threat. Oslo decreased 4 places for all-round social cohesion, despite still being ranked in the global top 25.83
Oslo’s model of social cohesion may be under
increasing threat as a result of Covid-19

Figure 16: Year-on-year change for all-round social cohesion, Oslo and European peers

Source: IESE Cities in Motion Index.

Implications for Oslo

In the post Covid period, it will be important for Oslo to:

  • Identify existing inequities which have been magnified during the pandemic. Work collaboratively to ensure that Oslo demonstrates how the economic recovery can address these and demonstrate how Oslo is avoiding the risks of other regions.
  • Develop a more decisive and ambitious track record of supporting women in tech and female growth founders. Be ambitious in this area, adapting more opportunities for women at different work/life stages and building the base of mentors, sponsors, and employee resource networks. Identify barriers to female talent attraction.
  • Use the impetus of the pandemic to continue shaping the quality and values and purpose driven character of Oslo’s identity.